Workers' comp overhaul hailed by Okla. GOP leaders

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A plan to phase out Oklahoma's Workers' Compensation Court and switch to an administrative system has been endorsed by all of the state's major political players and is being praised by state business leaders as a way to drive down insurance costs.

But attorneys who represent injured workers say those hurt on the job are the ones who will suffer under the major changes being considered by the Oklahoma Legislature.

Oklahoma's workers' compensation system has been a priority for the Republican-controlled Legislature because they contend businesses in the state are being forced to pay higher workers' compensation insurance premiums than nearly every other state. Oklahoma and Tennessee are the only states with a court system for handling workers' compensation cases.

The bill was passed last week by a Senate committee.

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